Thursday, May 24, 2007

Deception Point

A shocking scientific discovery. A deception of staggering brilliance. A political thriller unlike any you’ve ever read...

This is what deception point described by the author.

I object.

1. The discovery is not shocking, there had been plenty of times similar and more effective scandals were initiated.

2. The deception did not seem to have even the least amount of brilliance, are you saying the World's super power tried to bluff the whole world with all its brain power with this tryst?

3. Political thriller….no way, it fail to match the brilliance of Jeffrey Archer stories. The games people play for power ought to be brilliant; it is not enough that the author tries to convince it; the reader has to feel it.

The setting is Washington D.C; the time is pre-election. The President is on the verge of losing his campaign, even his staff thinks he will be throwing in the towel. An ambitious senator, who is next in line for the becoming the POTUS (President Of The United States), Senator Sedgewick Sexton, attacks the government's policy of unlimited funding of NASA – an organization that yields no result or profit. And then, something is discovered, that might just turn the course of the events. First, it was just a meteorite, buried deep within the Arctic ice, but then it led to more unbelievable things.

There are so many things that doesn’t just fall to place.
A deception of such a magnanimous order, and they left the insertion shaft there? Incredible!!!
Where all the scientists so thrilled with the discovery that they forgot to run even the most basic tests on the discovery?
There is no suspense even in the story. Someone told me it’s the person you least expect, and I could say who it was. But pray then, what exactly was the motivation? I couldn’t find anything or am I missing something?
The way Sexton's assistant manages to get into NASA office and bully a senior scientist with her cooked up story is laughable.

Another flaw, this is more of a science journal than a thriller. The author has really gone overboard with all the detailed explanations of everything from the Arctic ice to the Submarines. The prodigies are running for their life from beginning to end and half of the book is about how they escape each attack on them. Some are in air, some in water, some in ice, some on a drifting glacier, some on a submarine, volcano, I really lost track and started hoping they would die once and for all! There is this scenario where our hero is in water and the heroine is trapped in a ship that’s sinking and he is thinking "What makes the ship sink??" I could kill that guy myself.

There is a geologist, glaciologist, oceanologist, marine biologist, and many more, all trying to impart their knowledge page after page. I did not get thrilled, I got thoroughly bored.

Inspite of being so knowledgeable, there is no sign of wisdom or wit in even the protagonists. Nothing strikes us, all character, except maybe that of Marjorie Tench, comes across as plain.

The reader feels no empathy with any of the characters. I was surprised when I found myself feeling blank with Sedgewick ditching his own daughter, Rachel's memories of her mother, Mike's sad story and even the surprise press conference at the end.

There is suspense, and the book is readable, but the narrative loses momentum with unwanted action scenes, which seems to be influenced by Hollywood.

Cant believe it is from the same author who gave us Davinci Code.

For those who like spy stories, conspiracy theories, and the secret services, read this.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Malabar Muslim Recipes - Chicken Biriyani

An original recipe followed by my mother and me since a long time. Adored by many of our friends and relatives, this is a dish which stands alone by itself and I find it an excellent choice for parties.


Chicken - 1 whole cut into pieces
For marinade
2 Tbsp red chilli powder
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

oil for pan frying

For gravy
6 large onions, sliced thin
3 Tbsp ginger-garlic-greenchilli paste
2 tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp curd
2 Tbsp coconut, grated
2 Tbsp cashewnut
1 Tbsp almonds
1 Tbsp kus-kus (poppy seeds)
1 cup coriander leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp garam masala

1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 Tbsp cashewnuts, broken into halves
2 Tbsp raisins, soaked & drained
2 Tbsp chopped coriander leaves

for rice:
3/4 kg basmati rice
Juice of 1 lemon
1 handful mixed spices
salt to taste

for dum:
1 cup pure ghee
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp rose water
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp saffron
1 Tbsp pineapple essence

Cooking procedure
Clean the chicken pieces and rub the ingredients for the marinade into the pieces. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Shallow fry in hot oil until slightly browned but not crispy. the idea is to make the masala stick to the meat well.


In a deep pan, heat half-cup oil and half-cup good quality ghee.
Add the sliced onions and saute until nicely browned.
Add the ginger-garlic-green chilli paste and saute again for 5 min until the raw smell is gone. Add the powders and garam masala and saute for a minute on low fire.
Now add the tomatoes and little salt and saute until well done.
Add the chicken pieces and saute for 5 minutes on high heat.
Add the curds and ground coconut-kuskus-cashew-almonds and saute again for some time. Now, add the chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves and while steaming, turn heat off. Put some more garam masala on top and keep it tightly closed.

Preparing Rice:

Wash the required rice (1/2kg rice for 4 persons) and soak for about half an hour. Drain.
Take a large enough (almost double the size of cooked rice) vessel and take water in it.
Add salt and mixed spices (some elaichi, cloves, cinnamon, pepper) and keep the vessel covered and boil it.
Now add the drained rice and cook in open pan, stirring in between.
Test for salt and add if the water tastes less salty.
It will be cooked in 10-15 minutes.
Test the grains for readiness by chewing.
It should be JUST cooked and not very well cooked.
There should be enough water during this process and the rice should be freely flowing, not congested.
If water is less, add some more boiled water.
Once cooked, drain the rice immediately using a colander.
This should be immediately used with the masala for the dum.
You can remove the whole spices if you wish.
Aso try adding some lemon juice to the water while cooking so that the rice remains seperate.


In little oil or ghee deep fry thinly sliced onions (1-2No) until crisp and brown and keep aside. Now fry the cashews and raisins and keep aside.


Take a heavy bottomed vessel and brush some ghee in it.
Put a thin layer of rice so as to provide a barrier to the meat.
Arrange the meat pieces and masala over it.
Put the rice on top of it.
To the hot milk add some yellow color, pineapple essence and saffron strands and pour on top of the rice.
Now pour some 2tsp rose water above it.
Pour some 3-5 Tbsp of ghee over the rice.
Put 1tsp garam masala over it.
Sprinkle the garnishing prepared above and put some chopped coriander leaves.
Cover the vessel and seal well with roti dough so that steam doesnt go out.
Keep on a slow fire or oven for 10-15 minutes. Ideally, heat should come from above the pan also, which is done by placing charcoals on the lid, but this step can be omitted.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

And thus he reached the Cannes

The guy born with the silver spoon in his mouth.
The junior AB......the bolloywood throne is reserved for the successor to iconic legend Amitabh Bachan.
Everything has been soo easy for him
Debut in movies...with no remarkable looks, skills or acting abilities, he is on the way to top.
The best deal was signed on April 20, 2007.
On an Akshaya Tritiya day....the brand name will flourish.

What brings him to Cannes? His marriage to Aishwarya.

He may be a good man, but this is none of his merit, there are other men who are strong enough to stand on their own feet, in its true sense.

For the people who said Aishwarya made a good catch, think twice. Atleast she is there because of her own ability.

There are no shortcut to success.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Logic behind numbers

The numbers we all use (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) are known as "arabic" numbers to distinguish them from the " Roman Numerals" (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, etc).

Actually the arabs popularized these numbers but they were originally used by the early phonecian traders to count and keep track of their trading accounts.
Have you ever thought WHY ........ 1 means "one", and 2 means "two"? The roman numerals are easy to understand but what was the logic behind the phonecian numbers?

It's all about angles !

It's the number of angles.

If one writes the numbers down (see below) on a piece of paper in their older forms, one quickly sees why.

I have marked the angles with "o"s.

No 1 has one angle.

No 2 has two angles.

No 3 has three angles. etc. and

"O" has no angles

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Qatar set for Sania Mania Again..

WTA starts February end. The billboards itself speaks volumes on who is the star.
Thanks to her dedicated Indian fans.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

That pretty much summarises my Valentines Day celebrations.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

World Cup Team

World Cup Team is announced. Sreesanth is in team.

More Dhoom anyone?